Falafel

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Today I am sharing with you five little facts about Paraguayan food/meals:

1. Avocado is eaten as a fruit. Paraguayans like to sprinkle some sugar on top and eat it in its skin or in a smoothie with milk and sugar.   This means they won’t eat it in a salad, or in their sandwich, or savor the all-time American favorite: guacamole.  In fact, the day Jon and I made guacamole not one member of our host family tried it.

2. The preferred breakfast is white bread; there might be some dulce de leche or jam to spread on it.  This means no eggs, no pancakes, no yogurt, no granola, no fruit, no cereal, no oatmeal, no French toast, none of it, just good old white bread.  There is no need to get complicated so early in the morning, Paraguayans enjoy keeping things simple.

3. Red meat shall never be eaten with the slightest trace of blood.  Once I showed Paraguayans images of how Americans like to eat their steak, they couldn’t believe what they were seeing and continuously shook their heads.  Ironically, they love blood sausage, while Americans stay away from it.
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Brown Butter, Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Cookies

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I have a question for you.  Well, before I pose my question I would like for you to excuse my ignorance, and Jon’s ignorance for that matter, for he is perplexed as well.

The question:  Why do we refrigerate our eggs in the United States?

I have most certainly not been to every country in the world, but enough to where I have seen a trend, a.k.a. no one refrigerates their eggs… except for us, the Americans.   We love them so very much refrigerated that we buy them already refrigerated in the supermarket and it wouldn’t surprise me to know that they come to the supermarket in refrigerated semi-trucks.
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Mango-Banana Smoothie with Chia Seeds

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Paraguay is covered in mango trees and since arriving here I have been patiently awaiting the ripening of the mangos.  The time has finally come: it’s mango season!

There are two types of mangos that grow here, the little mango that grows on big mango trees and the big mango that grows on little mango trees.  The big mango trees are much more common than the little mango trees, which is unfortunate because the little mangos are very fibrous and not very pleasant to eat while the big mangos have no fiber, are juicy and delicious.

Jon and I unfortunately do not have a little mango tree in our yard, so to attain big mangos I came up with a simple strategy:  to tell every Paraguayan I know that I l-o-v-e big mangos.   After my mango campaign I stood at my door and waited to reap the benefits. Paraguayans didn’t disappoint; I received 12 big mangos in two days. Jon was amazed.
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10 Days in Mendoza, Argentina & Santiago, Chile

We left off last time with a promise of food for this post and yet here I am instead with a recap of our trip this past Christmas and New Years. Please forgive me.  I hope you enjoy this eye candy instead.

After 6+ months in Paraguay Jon and I were ready to start exploring the land beyond our new home.  During Thanksgiving, with Isaiah and Allison, the idea of a Christmas trip was mentioned. Quickly thereafter out came a map of Argentina and adjacent countries and with that the planning had officially begun.

On the day of Christmas Eve we flew off to Mendoza, Argentina, the largest wine producing area of South America, most famous for its Malbec.  Maybe I am too easily impressed in life, but I quickly fell in love with Argentina.  There is a great variety of cuisine available (including seafood paella!), fun/cute shops, and pedestrian walk signs.  Ah, yes, you folks living the fancy life in the first world should say a small prayer of gratitude thanking whatever higher being you believe in for that flashing walk sign that tells you when to cross the street, because it’s worth gold. Ahem, back to Mendoza.
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A Trabajar en Villarrica

When folks from back home email/chat/talk with us, a question we always get is “What all do you guys do down there in Paraguay?” So, here you have it, a post solely dedicated to what we do in Paraguay with pictures galore.  And yes, we do things other than constantly sweat and kill bugs. (Please excuse the quality of some of the pictures– they were mostly taken with a point and shoot).

1. I teach/taught typing. 

For the past two months I taught typing at a local middle + high school.  This school was the very lucky recipient of a fully equipped computer lab courtesy of the Korean aid organization (KOICA), but unfortunately since the Korean volunteer has left the lab was only used for two class hours per week.  My original plan was to teach Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. but I quickly discovered that many students could barely manage using a mouse and a keyboard.  So, we started at square one, typing.  The students have a way to go, but I plan to continue once summer vacation ends and school starts back up.  (Yep, we are in the midst of summer here on the other side of the hemisphere).  During the same time Jon taught PHP at the technical high school, the same stuff that runs those websites that go by the name of “Facebook,” “Wikipedia” and even this little blog.  

2. We walk a lot and drink terere. 

A significant chunk of our day consists of simply walking. We live a good distance away from the center of town, and once in town have to walk from offices to schools to markets to home, etc.  Thanks to a sweet little birthday gift (a.k.a: a Fitbit) I received from a friend all the way from the U.S. of A. (love you Eab!) I now know that on average we walk 7 miles per day.  To cool off from all that walking we drink lots of terere with fellow Paraguayans.  Terere is the national drink of Paraguay/a way of life. It consists of a guampa (metal or wood cup), a bombilla (metal straw with a filter at the bottom), a thermos (filled with really cold water to refill the guampa), mate (a loose herb), and friends.  You get together with friends and alternate drinking from the same guampa via the same straw.
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